In what may turn out to be a watershed case, three former BetOnSports employees have pled guilty to online gambling-related charges in a federal court in St. Louis. The three defendents were part of a team that promoted the online sportsbook in the U.S., going to sports venues and helping customers set up accounts and make wagers.

The three are the first individuals to plead guilty in the case involving BetOnSports, which was once one of the largest online gambling companies in the world, and the first convictions of a "non-gambling entity" like an advertising or marketing company for a gambling-related crime, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Holtshouser said.


William Hernan Lenis, 55, who is known as "Bill," pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of gambling paraphernalia and admitted that his company Mobile Promotions sent logo-wrapped motor homes to sporting events across the country to promote BetOnSports, recruit new gamblers and collect signatures to try to change gambling laws.

The RVs had computers and mobile phones so gamblers could place bets, and one was parked at a Rams home game on Oct. 20, 2002.

Bill Lenis also admitted that Lenis family members, including son William Luis Lenis, known as "Will," nephew Manny Lenis and daughter Monica Lenis worked with him on the project.

Bill Lenis also admitted that his company Direct Mail Expertise mailed 2 million to 3 million ads for BetOnSports per year between 2000 and 2006 and dealt directly with Kaplan relatives Neil Kaplan and Lori Kaplan.

Will Lenis, 28, pleaded guilty to transmission of wagering information and faces a year or less in prison. He admitted that he helped an undercover police officer make a bet in a BetOn-Sports RV in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 22, 2002.

Manny Lenis, 29, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to pay a wagering tax and is likely to face probation or six months or less in prison. He admitted accepting a bet from an undercover police officer on the same date as his cousin.
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